A candidate-driven market is surfacing again. And if you thought the candidate market was challenging pre-pandemic, experts are predicting 2021 will be one of the toughest to find top-tier talent the pharma/biotech industry. We agree.
But intentional hiring in the pharma/biotech space is gaining momentum! It’s a welcome sign of good things to come. We are hearing clients are much more aggressive in posting new job openings, even during the summer months.
We are also witnessing commercial side job postings (catching up vs clinical job postings) on a steady upward rise from stagnation over the past 18 months due to Covid-19. So far, a sustainable mode of activity is in the works.
So with increased job postings you would think candidates are applying and anxious to pursue a new position with a new company? Not exactly. Even with access to some of the best real-time job opening databases available, there has been a lull in applications for these new openings. But why?
With all the unsettledness, what are some effective strategies to land the evasive “top-tier” candidates for your organization? Here are four areas you must consider:
- Face the fact there is competition for your best candidate(s).
Compensation (mainly salaries) have not adjusted to the shortage of candidates. We continue to recommend if you find and interview someone who is really ideal for the job, move to hire and offer quickly with a very attractive, yet competitive salary.
- Be flexible. Candidates are requiring remote-based, work from home opportunities to consider a job change.
The pandemic has changed our lives and our work. It wasn’t long ago that everyone’s job was at risk. And in prior years, 4 days inside the walls of an office per week was the norm. But now the trend is work from home – provided efficiency and productivity is maximized. So offer that flexibility as part of the job description. Candidates are looking for that option.
- Relocation can be a non-starter for top-tier candidates.
Two income families, and other personal factors, are very common in the workplace so being open to offer the new position remotely is a good strategy for new hires. Some companies allow for up to 2 years before actually having to relocate. Be creative. Adapt to whatever HR policy allows (with some exceptions) to land the new candidate.
- Demand is up for recruiters assisting both clients and candidates.
When you combine all the above factors, it makes sense to use trusted and well experienced recruiters for advice, coaching, and strategy. If recruiting firms can maintain the personalized service while delivering qualified candidates in a timely fashion, then the frustration of finding top talent will be lessened and the process streamlined dramatically. Top industry recruiters have a strong following. Use the ones who know you best!
How many times have you heard hiring managers say; “Gotta hire the most qualified candidate. Can’t take any chances.” In an era of accountability, many hiring managers count on the least likely candidate to fail. It’s a safe bet—protecting how senior management perceives your hiring skills in identifying a great hire versus mediocre one.
Every hiring manager wants to make the best selection possible, ensuring new employees that stand out and add value. When a new hire turns out to be a star employee, everybody wins and the company propels forward. When the opposite occurs, a cloud of doubt hovers over the hiring manager with questionable skills and competencies to recognize future top-tier talent.
As recruiting consultants to many of the top industry pharma clients, we have interviewed and placed hundreds of candidates over the years. Clients value our resources and recommendations, recognizing the right candidate for the right job.
Let us share some secret ingredients you can focus on for being the right fit:
- Measure your intangibles along with qualifications – Meeting 100% of the job requirements is certainly the goal, but measuring and evaluating your intangibles like personality, attitude, motivation, and connection to other people are just as important. These skills rise to the top for long term success.
- Is the new opportunity a step up or lateral move? – In this challenging hiring environment, a candidate needs to evaluate the intermediate and long-term career growth potential. In prior years, the rule of thumb was never take a new job unless there is a title promotion. Not any longer. Titles are mixed and can mean different levels of responsibilities across different companies. That’s why defining the role and asking specific questions about the role are important as you decide to pursue an opportunity or not.
- Hone your virtual interview skills – 85-90% of first-time interviews are now virtual due to Covid. First impressions still matter, even on a computer screen. There is much to master in today’s virtual interview prep, but the short answer is practice, practice, practice. Ask a friend or colleague to evaluate how you come across on screen. Do a Zoom call with someone an hour or two before the actual interview. It will calm you down and increase your confidence to have some practice before the real deal. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.
Meeting job requirements are important. I don’t want to downplay experience and qualifications for the potential job. But take a step back. Even though you may not meet the job requirements, your approach and preparation along with thinking through these tips will always give you a better chance of landing the job. Make it count.
2020 has been quite the year. It’s becoming a common question not only in business circles but as a casual conversation topic amongst family and friends (often via Zoom!): “How long will this pandemic go on?”
The future is starting to look brighter from a business perspective. The reopening of many states is slowly but steadily unfolding. We are trying to get back to a sense of normalcy, balancing work and family decisions, staying healthy and safe. I have spoken to many of you who want to figure out whether to make a move or just stay put for fear of uncertainty in the job market. It is difficult to get into a mindset of what to do next right now.
But not to panic. These uncertain times doesn’t mean you should put your aspirations on hold. There are many attractive positions out there and companies are still in an active mode of recruiting – they are looking to grow and thrive, and need talented folks to make that happen. Don’t wait. Keep focused, stay positive, act and think like a leader. Pursue a range of possible opportunities. Investigate that dream job you see posted. You have options, see where they lead!
Here are 3 actions to take now to propel your career growth:
- Evaluate all department opportunities within your group. If you seem stuck in your current position, look at the “total job” first. Has it changed in the past 4-5 months? If so, measure what the job will look like in the next 6-12 months. Do you like what you see ahead? We’re all experiencing various stages of discouragement, rejection, and missing out on the normal routine of the past. The future can be just as uncertain in the best of times too. So it makes sense to open yourself up to new opportunities and keep yourself resilient to future change ahead—be it within your own company or outside.
- Consider what your next planned promotion should be, based on your last performance evaluation. This is key. Normally your supervisor needs to hear from you as to why moving to the next level is deserved. Yes, you can plant a seed of pursuing the next promotion from your home office by keeping connected with your boss, preferably a virtual face-to-face. Remember, “out of sight, out of mind” applies even when working from home. Bypass the email or text message. Get on the video when talking with your boss. Visuals are memorable.
It’s easy to think because of the pandemic there is no need to get on the radar for that next level promotion. Wrong. Internal promotions are moving right along so don’t hesitate. Make yourself and your intentions known up front about that next career step. It shows initiative.
- Reconnect with contacts outside your company and in the industry. It’s easy to think social distancing is not a great moment for building and extending your network. But with more people than ever communicating online, it could be a good chance to reconnect with old contacts too. Some studies suggest distant connections (old college friends, roommates, past colleagues) are often better places to offer you new perspectives and honest advice than your nearest and dearest trusted family and close friends. Make a bold move and pick up the phone and ask, “hey, any new positions in your company?” Yes, it could feel awkward but just reconnecting and telling stories of good times past could be all it takes to rekindle that relationship and put you on the radar for new opportunities and connections.
Especially now, you could be in one of two places in life: moving forward or stuck-in-a-rut. Which one are you in? Take small steps forward to advance your career—even in an unprecedented year of challenges. Make it count!
We have read about it, watched our local and national media, and perhaps know someone who is affected by the global pandemic. Its been very hard to watch. It has dramatically changed our daily lives and taken us all by surprise.
The good news is we are plodding through the inconvenience and lacing up our boots to continue living our lives. We are adapting and innovating with both vigor and caution. It’s a new world.
The strategic plan you may have set for yourself in January no doubt looks different now. Moving forward we’ll all need to be flexible and adapt to the challenging environment we find ourselves in today. Life indeed has shuffled itself and a new deck is needed.
Navigating these waters is so hard right now. If you have ever been hit by a storm–whether in business or life in general–you know change is inevitable. So what can you do to stand out in times of inconvenience and hardship, especially now?
Here are a few suggestive tips to optimize your output in the midst of a very challenging time:
- Health and family come first. – The hair on the back of your neck stands up when family health and safety are affected. Absolutely! We are likely working remotely and/or practicing the new normal of social distancing. If you find yourself working from your kitchen table while homeschooling 3 kids, you are not alone. Having an office separate from the busy living quarters is ideal. While the home office environment is challenging, it’s the best thing you can offer your family in order to keep each other healthy. Consider informing your boss, specifically, what works best for you (e.g., extra bandwidth, X Chair available on www.amazon.com; dual monitors, etc.), and how you can be more productive to better accommodate your professional needs.
- Stay connected. Right now your normal work environment has definitely changed. Its rare to hear if someone hasn’t been affected. I predict we’ll see remote work extended and become more accepted, even after things get back to normal. A 2010 report in the Journal Health and Social Behavior argues that human contact is also vital to your physical health. As we find it harder and harder to have human interactions in person, consider leveraging the video conferencing technology that is already so prevalent in the workplace—even if to just say hello face-to-face and check in with a colleague.
- Add an hour each week to “think.” These are unique times where you have the opportunity to slow down and think. Contemplate, analyze, and plan ahead. How often are you able to do that? Yep, almost never! Being alone allows some uninterrupted moments to really think about life, business ideas, and department responsibilities.
- Check in and offer to help. Avoid simply emailing and texting your boss. Call or video chat to let him/her know you are ready to contribute in an evolving environment. Even if nothing emerges immediately, knowing you are on the sidelines willing to help is a great advantage for you!
Hang in there. We will ride out this new normal and soon get back to living and enjoying life’s freedoms. Stay well, be safe.
You’ve heard it before I’m sure while watching sports: “Momentum is changing, the team is clicking on all cylinders…” It is an expected slogan when one team gets that all-important edge over the opponent.
And in every career, there is a similar wave of momentum when circumstances in your job, and personal life, are striving forward. And it just might be the time to consider a pivot. The momentum is in your favor.
In a full employment economy, you are the one “controlling the ball” when considering a career/job change. It isn’t always a quick or easy decision, but it is one you can control. There are many factors to consider when thinking about a new role or new company. But, when momentum is on your side, it can be an easier decision.
In my coaching calls, I recommend it is always good to explore your options when in a position of strength. Here are a few to ponder:
- Network and keep in touch with people. – A simple text or short email checking in on someone can reap benefits. ASK about them and ways you might offer to help. You would be surprised how many will respond. And yes, they remember the next time they see a message from you. Chances are a quick response will return your way, or even information on a possible job opening with a new employer.
- Stay current with industry trends. – Stay connected with industry trends, mergers, acquisitions. When we get busy, we ignore the larger picture. Stay informed. Read the journals, articles and press releases online. Beginning each office day, I read First Word Pharma (http://www.fwreports.com/firstword-pharma/) Its free to sign-up and comes to your inbox every morning. Well worth a 10-15 minute read each day.
- Stay open to something new. – It is a great time to be employed in the pharma/biotech/medical device industries. The market for new and innovative products is at an all-time high. Resist complacency, seek challenge, and consider a new job opportunity. You never know what unique position awaits unless you open the door to consideration. Discuss your thoughts with your recruiter, and even close friends. They often have some inside tips to share that may help you sort out some unanswered questions, and perhaps make a move to carry that momentum to the next level.
If you are consistently busting your hump yet few people notice, it is easy to be unmotivated to work hard. Well, maybe not.
In the workplace, it’s all about accomplishing much with few resources. It’s part of working the fast-paced, ever-changing world of corporate pharma we live and breathe.
Long hours, project deadlines, follow up, late evenings on the laptop—all contribute to time away from family and friends. You can be under-appreciated especially if you are wired to thrive on encouragement, and for the boss to say, “well done!”
Psychologically, it normally takes one comment from a supervisor or co-worker acknowledging your diligence and hard work to keep your engine running. But wait. Be patient. People are observing. The boss may not actually speak into your translation of appreciation and encouragement, but I’ll bet the work you are doing is in fact getting noticed.
Here are some suggestions for getting noticed in the workplace, and at the same time ramping up your productivity:
- Find uninterrupted time – Consider an early start to the day. Beat the crowd in the morning before meetings begin and people pop in your office. Likely you will accomplish 30-40% of your daily work in the first few hours.
- Start small – Focus on shorter projects that can be knocked out soonest. Project scope varies but as you feel empowered with mental energy, stick with it to completion and check it off the list.
- Don’t overload the calendar – Success is a process. It takes time and consistency. Don’t be a hero taking on additional work. Do what you do well.
- Seek a mentor – Model others who are successful. Seek out someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses. Check in periodically and ask for feedback.
- Be consistent. Resist distraction – Be mindful of the potential distractions in your daily work that can lead to time and energy wasted. Interruptions, social media looks, or trips to the coffee bar can add up.
- Celebrate benchmarks and milestones – Reward yourself when projects and presentations are completed. You need satisfaction knowing you have accomplished goals or met expectations. Once you experience the old adage ’15 minutes of fame’, its off to the next challenge, and more accomplishments ahead!